Character.AI, an AI app developed by a16z-backed Character Technologies, has experienced remarkable success since its launch, claiming to have garnered over 1.7 million installs in less than a week. The app offers customizable AI companions with distinct personalities, allowing users to create their own characters. The company’s founders, Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, were previously AI experts at Google, where they led the team behind LaMDA, a language model for dialogue applications.
Character.AI’s mobile version made a strong debut on iOS and Android, particularly on Google Play, surpassing popular entertainment apps like Netflix, Disney+, and Prime Video within the first 48 hours. The app continued to gain traction, with significant installs in major Android markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, Brazil, and the United States.
The app’s success can also be attributed to its prior web experience, which had over 200 million visits per month and an average visit duration of 29 minutes, surpassing ChatGPT by 300%, according to Character.AI. Users quickly became engaged, with engagement rates jumping to over 2 hours on average after the first message sent to a character. Over 10 million custom AI characters have been created by users so far.
Character.AI recently launched its premium service, c.ai+, offering faster response times, access during peak usage periods, and early access to new features. The company also announced a strategic partnership with Google Cloud to leverage its Tensor Processor Units for faster and more efficient training and inference of large language models.
Despite a slight decline in demand following its initial launch, Character.AI’s impressive download numbers are believed to be accurate. The majority of downloads were organic, and the company stated that it did not have a dedicated marketing budget for the app’s launch.
While the app faces competition in the AI character generator space, its founders’ reputation and the success of its web app have contributed to its early popularity. The team at Character Technologies continues to focus on expanding its offerings and building on its initial success in the AI app market.